Playing in front of a sold-out Borussia-Park, Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Schalke in the Europa League Round of 16 had everything. Despite not being as high profile as Manchester United vs Rostov, this tie produced non-stop end-to-end football and heart-stopping moments.
The two sides met for the fourth time this season on Thursday evening; their third meeting in just 13 days.
A 4-2 win for Gladbach in the Bundesliga kicked things off, before Jonas Hoffman gave Dieter Hecking’s side the lead in the first leg. Guido Burgstaller equalised the scores which meant it was all to play for at Borussia-Park on Thursday.
Heading into the game, Gladbach head coach Hecking believed his side had a “51 percent chance” of qualifying for the Europa League quarter-finals. Luckily for die Fohlen, this tie came on the back of a good run of form, as they had lost just one game in six outings.
An early goal for Borussia Mönchengladbach via a Benedikt Höwedes deflection got things going, although whatever happened, Schalke still needed at least a goal to advance. Unfortunately for Markus Weinzierl and the Royal Blues, Mahmoud Dahoud’s stunner from 25-yards put some breathing space between the two teams.
Schalke managed to get an early goal back through Leon Goretzka, with the ball taking a wicked bounce to travel over Yann Sommer. Nabil Bentaleb equalised on the night to make it 3-3 on aggregate, which saw Schalke advance to the quarter-finals in front of a packed stadium.
Here are three things we learned from the Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Schalke game in the Round of 16 in the Europa League.
#1 Rising star – Mahmoud Dahoud
If elite European clubs weren’t already watching young star Mahmoud Dahoud, they certainly will be now. Exceptional performances in the Bundesliga have seen him linked with a move to Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, but with a sublime display against Schalke, the Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder will surely have a few more suitors now.
His ability to dictate the tempo at just 21-years-old makes him look like a seasoned veteran. Dahoud scored Mönchengladbach’s second of the evening with a cracking effort from outside the penalty area. If he keeps on going like he is, we’ll no doubt see him reach his potential in no time.
Despite all the positives, though, it was his handball that gave Schalke the penalty to score the equaliser, sending the Royal Blues through.